Students in CWRU’s xLab assist in developing credential storage in personal data accounts
Hyland, Dataswift and students from Case Western Reserve University’s xLab initiative have partnered to advance the development of open standards for blockchain-anchored digital credentials.
“This partnership has incredible potential, as digital credentials become increasingly accepted as an easy, secure way to share information,” said Valt Vesikallio, SVP, global services at Hyland and an executive sponsor of the project. “We’re excited to be sharing in this work with students at Case Western Reserve University, a world-class institution in our back yard.”
The partnership has been beneficial for all parties, as Case Western Reserve students have gained valuable real-world experience in their field of study, while the University has gained partner companies that expand co-curricular opportunities for its students. Hyland, meanwhile, has expanded its potential pipeline of future developers and hopes to expand the number of CWRU’s students and eventual graduates working at the company.
“Our students are proud and excited to work on such a meaningful project and with a well-known and highly regarded company in Hyland,” said Youngjin Yoo, the faculty director of the university’s xLab. “They’re aware of the potential value and impact of credentials and are playing a key role in the development of these real-world use cases, experience that will help them in their future careers as well.”
The initial phase of the partnership involved building a web-based interface that enables users to easily store and manage their verifiable credentials by uploading them to a user-owned, encrypted personal data account (PDA), an innovative privacy-preserving solution developed by Dataswift, another strategic partner of xLab. That account is the storage system of a personal data server legally owned by users themselves and comes with a Data Passporting function that can be called upon by any application, allowing users to license their data on demand, quickly and securely, with any relevant party. Currently, sharing such private documents securely is difficult, costly and time-consuming, and often relies on third parties that alienate the user from ownership of their own data.
CWRU’s xLab was founded in 2019 with the aim of fueling the transformation of Northeast Ohio’s digital economy and building digital intelligence in the region. It partners with Northeast Ohio corporations to assist in the implementation of business models for the new digital economy, by way of a multi-year strategic engagement. Students work on company-specific digital innovation challenges in a class instructed by a digital design faculty member.
“We’re excited to be working with Case Western Reserve University students on this important endeavor,” said Natalie Smolenski, Head of Business Development for Hyland Innovation. “This is a step forward for self-sovereign identity; the technology makes it much easier for data owners to share their personal records securely online and for third parties to access and verify the documents they need.”